With more people than ever opting to eat consciously, whether the change is for diet purposes, ethical reasons or other health causes, many cafes and coffee shops are having to adapt to their customers’ new way of thinking – and eating. Here are just a few ways that you can simply, easily and efficiently adapt your services to meet your customer’s needs.

Start small

A great way to discover the scale of the market you have for vegan or dairy-free services is to begin offering beverages such as coffees, teas or hot chocolates with other forms of milk; for example soy or almond milk. Not only will your customers be happy with their drinks, but you’ll also have a more robust idea of the level of alternatives you need to offer to keep your customers coming back for more.

Listen

As customer-facing businesses, it’s important to be open to feedback from customers, whether it’s good or bad. Just asking whether other options for food or drinks that match their lifestyle would improve their experience will give you a great place to start when deciding what options to serve.

Not all alternatives are equal – and customers who are already living with certain dietary choices may even be able to advise you on the best place to start. Encouraging your staff to listen to customer feedback, as well as asking what alternative dietary requirements they have, ensures you can offer the best possible customer service.

Advertise

After all, if customers aren’t visiting you because they believe you won’t offer alternatives, why would they be in your shop in the first place? Consider advertising the fact you offer vegan, gluten-free, no-carb or non-dairy items prominently, especially when you first introduce these items; you’ll soon find yourself with new regular customers that would otherwise have looked elsewhere. Offering alternatives to favourite products in your line – and advertising them alongside these products – can also be a great way to attract attention.

Always ask

Whether your customer is ordering a latte to go or a full cream tea, ensure your staff are trained to check for dietary requirements or restrictions at their first point of contact. Not only does this prompt customers to inform you of any allergens, but it promotes additional options to customers who may be restricted in their diet and also lets existing customers know that these alternatives are on offer to their friends and family. Being able to support all lifestyle and dietary choices is vital.

Adapt what you have

Introducing vegan, dairy-free or gluten-free options to your menu doesn’t have to mean creating countless new dishes; in fact, if you can adapt what you already serve, this is often a preferable option both for businesses and their customers. Offering similar or the same items such as cakes, drinks or meals offers far more inclusivity than a different meal or item that may take longer and be less appealing overall. Updating your menus can be as easy as adding the universal ‘V’ for vegans to items that apply, showing that serving vegan customers is a day to day experience and not an inconvenience for your business.

One way to protect yourself from the risks involved in adapting your business is by choosing excellent business insurance, to ensure that you’re always doing to best you can for your customers – with less risk. Contact us today to find out how our insurance can cover your growing business today.